It’s the season of sunshine and for gardeners that includes projects in the yard. There are endless tasks to be done to maintain a landscape, many of which fall under the category of mundane and undesirable. This season find some ways to beautify the garden while putting your creativity to work.
Upcycle is a term for repurposing tools, furniture or any other object and giving it new life. It is a fun way to reduce waste by finding a use for things you may otherwise consider throwing away. Surveying your storage shed or garage is a good place to start looking for items that could be repurposed into a work of art in the garden.
Old chairs make great planters for the garden. The materials you need are a wooden chair, about 3 feet of chicken wire, a staple gun, coconut coir mat, potting soil and plants. Begin this upcycling project by removing the seat of the chair. Use the chicken wire to make a basin that fits into the space where the seat of the chair was. Staple the top edge of the chicken wire to the inside frame on the chair. Line the chicken wire basin with the coconut coir. Fill the basin with potting mix and it’s time to plant. You may decide to paint the chair or leave it as is. If your chair planter is exposed to the weather, you may notice it deteriorating over time. You can reinforce it with wire or screws or place it in a covered area where the rain and snow will not cause damage.
Wheelbarrows can also be beautiful, creative upcycle projects for the garden. One of the best things about using a wheelbarrow as a planter is the mobility. With a wheel and handles it is easy to move this planter as needed. For this upcycle you need a wheelbarrow, antique metal wheelbarrows are particularly nice, a drill with a metal drill bit, potting mix and plants. Begin by drilling multiple holes in the basin of the wheelbarrow. The size of the holes should be at least ¾-inch to allow water to drain properly. Fill the wheelbarrow with potting mix and plant.
Ideal plants for these upcycle projects are those with a small spread and slow growth. Annual color is a great choice such as pansies (Viola x wittrockiana), marigolds (Tagetes sp.) and petunias (Petunia sp.). Coleus (Coleus sp.) is an annual that is grown primarily for its attractive leaves. There are many varieties that can be planted together to create a display with great color and texture. Sweet potato vines (Ipomoea batatas) are a perfect option to drape over the sides of container plantings.
With any container garden water is a consideration. Container plantings dry out more quickly and should be monitored regularly. Additionally, because the roots are more exposed, container plants are less likely to withstand harsh winter temperatures. If you intend to grow perennials in a container you should have a plan for protecting the roots during the winter.
Old boots, metal bird cages and even rain gutters can be upcycled into functional containers for the garden. Incorporating unique objects into the landscape can add a decorative touch and spark your creativity. Add some fun to the garden tasks this summer. There’s no limit to where your imagination will take you.